Saturday, September 27, 2008

Mac Kandji: the next Ching... or the next Tarley?

This evening Macoumba Kandji made his debut with the New York Red Bulls, becoming the latest forward to jump from USL1 to Major League Soccer. Should Red Bulls fans expect a scoring explosion? Recent history suggests not.

A number of forwards have made the jump since 2002. The most successful of these is Brian Ching. Released after a year with the Galaxy, he played with the Seattle Sounders in 2002 and scored 16 goals in 25 games. He jumped back to MLS in 2003 where he has scored 59 goals in 114 appearances. During this time he's also become a member of the national team.

Other USL1 forwards have been less successful:
  • Current Galaxy forward Alan Gordon co-led the A-League (the forerunner of USL1) in scoring in 2004 with 17 goals for the Portland Timbers. In MLS he has scored a grand total of 11 goals in the last three years.
  • Melvin Tarley caught the eye of Real Salt Lake with his strong play in the 2005 US Open Cup, but scored only one goal in 12 MLS appearances.
  • Gavin Glinton notched 11 goals for the Charleston Battery in 2006, good enough for fifth in the league. In MLS he has been a journeyman, scoring six goals in parts of five seasons for three different teams.
  • While playing for the Pittsburgh Riverhounds in 2003, Thiago Martins led the A-league in scoring with 22 goals, but he scored just six goals in 56 MLS games.

Will Kandji become the next Ching? It's difficult to tell since we are working with a limited sample size... but I would suggest against holding your breath.

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